I’m overjoyed to be hosting a guest post written by author J.A. Baker whose new book, The Uninvited is sitting right on the top of my TBR pile. She shares her experiences of writing her novels and the accompanying emotions. She’s also a local writer (to me) so I’m pleased I get to share the love and wisdom.
About the Author
J.A.BAKER was born and brought up in North East England and has had a love of language for as long as she can remember.
She has a love of local history and genealogy and enjoys reading many genres of books but is an addict of psychological thrillers.
In December 2016 she was signed by Bloodhound Books who published Undercurrent.
Her second novel, Her Dark Retreat was published in October 2017 and The Other Mother was published in December 2017. Her fourth novel, Finding Eva was published in August 2018
J.A. Baker has four grown up children and one grandchild. She lives in a village near the river with her husband and madcap dog and when not working part time in a primary school, she spends her days trying to think up new and inventive ways of murdering people.
She can be reached on any of the links below and loves hearing from readers.
THE NERVOUS WRITER
Two of my novels released last year – Her Dark Retreat and The Other Mother – were written one straight after the other, which sounds fairly easy if you write full time, but I don’t. Writing is my second job so I do most of it on an evening, at weekends, or during the school holidays. The main difficulty for me is time, or rather the lack of it! I have learnt to utilise my time wisely and make sure I leave enough time for seeing family and friends. I managed to study for a degree whilst working and having four children living at home so juggling being a writer as well as working is nothing new to me.
After getting my debut novel (Undercurrent) published, I naively thought I could sit back for a while and had no idea how important it is to get your books out there and get your name known to readers. I soon realised that writing was a full time job and there was far more to it than simply sitting and tapping away at a keyboard. Interviews, book signings, meeting readers and other authors are all part and parcel of being a writer. I love doing all of these things but again, time is always against me. I’ve learnt that I need to prioritise now, choosing to attend some and not all functions and taking part in only a few interviews rather than putting myself up for all of them.
My second book, Her Dark Retreat, gave me the jitters prior to release because of the content. It deals with an assortment of difficult subjects such as dementia and infertility and although I had some knowledge of both, I also know that everyone’s experience is different and braced myself for some sort of backlash. However, I feel they were dealt with sensitively and were integral to the story so I hope nobody was offended. I do feel there is responsibility attached to producing a story and putting it out into the public domain and if as a writer, you are going to tackle difficult subjects, then you have a duty to do your homework beforehand and make it as accurate as you possibly can. Nobody is perfect and as I said earlier, everyone’s experiences are different, and people interpret things in their own way depending on their viewpoint, but as long as you can say, hand on heart, that you did your research then I don’t think anybody can complain or find fault.
The characters in my books aren’t always likeable. I don’t necessarily go down the route of having a protagonist everybody immediately warms to. We live in a complex world where people have many facets to their personality. I am fascinated by how normal people react when plunged into abnormal situations. I like to write about how their darker sides emerge as the story unfolds and events begin to unravel. My background is in education and psychology so it’s the working of a character’s mind that I focus on rather than the actual crime and forensics. I don’t consider myself a crime writer, more a thriller writer with a bit of crime thrown in!
The genre I slot into has been described as both psychological thriller and domestic noir. I have heard it said that this sort of writing is predominantly written by females and geared towards a female audience. I haven’t seen any statistics to back this up and only have my own experience to go on. The readers of my books seem to be a mixed bag for sure, including male and females of all ages.
I am fortunate enough to have a publisher (Bloodhound Books) who are so supportive of all their authors, which is just as well as I am a bag of nerves prior to the release of my books. I find the whole editing/proofreading process highly stressful. By the time I receive my book back for one final glance over for errors etc, I’ve read it so many times I can hardly bring myself to even look at it. I spend the month before release worrying about glaring errors, holes in the plot, grammatical mistakes etc. and am constantly sending emails to Sumaira, the publishing assistant who does her best to calm my raging nerves. And then of course there is the worry about how it will be received and whether or not it will sell as well as the last book. The trauma of being a writer never ends! And yet I keep on doing it. Just when I think I can’t cope with the stress of it any more, those ideas come creeping back into my brain and I’m off again – plotting, inventing characters, thinking up new settings and before I know it, my next book has been born…
A fragile woman. An unwelcome intruder. A house full of secrets.
Faye and her husband Hugh have had a traumatic year. Wanting to start again, the couple decide to buy a large rundown property, Cross House in a village in North Yorkshire, hoping to leave the past behind them.
However, the tranquillity is soon ruined when Faye begins to awake, every night, to the sound of somebody creeping around the bedroom. She tries to explain it to Hugh, frightened for the safety of their children Aiden and Poppy, but Hugh dismisses her claims, thinking she is heading for another breakdown.
But when Faye discovers some diaries that contain secrets about the family that lived in the house before them, she starts to wonder if the intruder might be closer to home than she first thought.
Obsessed with finding answers, Faye is determined to learn about the Wentworth family, a fractured family with a tragic past.
And when she discovers that Hilary Wentworth fell to her death down the stairs in Cross House, Faye realises she is in mortal danger…